The Fairest Of Them All: Beauty and the Beast (2.0)

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Welcome my lovelies, to the first installment in my new mini blog-series: “Fairest Of Them All”! I hope you’re ready for spellbinding magic, timeless romance, heart stopping adventure, and even a touch of mortal peril as we travel through the stories that truly never die. In each new Fairest Of Them All post, we’ll delve into a new fairy tale and I’ll reveal my favorite versions, both in film and in print! (Although my favorite fairy tale show Once Upon a Time will not be featured in this series, mainly because they’ve already gotten a few posts of their own and have more coming, but also because I’d basically be writing the same thing on every post which is I LOVE ONCE UPON A TIME!!! So just trust me on this now, if you have a favorite fairy tale, watch OUAT because chances are it’s on the show and I ship it!)

Now, for this first Fairest post, I’ve chosen my favorite fairy tale of all time: Beauty and the Beast, a French fairytale written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which tells the tale of a young woman who finds the truest of love in the heart of a beastly man…

I first came across this story like countless others of my generation: by watching the Disney animated version, which was released today actually, back in 1991. I instantly fell in love with the notion of a bookish, strong-willed woman intent on saving her father by taking his place in the palace of what she thinks is a monster. Theirs wasn’t a story of love at first sight, more like loathing perhaps, or maybe even fear, but still, this is a love story where the love has to be worked for, to be earned. In the end the Beast is made a better man by loving Belle, and Belle learns the power and reward of trusting her heart instead of her eyes. Both of these characters feel the effects of isolation, both yearn for more, they’re relatable, and their story is nothing short of powerful!

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Fairest Of Them All:

Books:

1) Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley — My favorite retelling of my favorite story, this book is exactly what I want when I want to relive Belle and the Beast’s story: a strong sense of family, seclusion, isolation, new beginnings, sweet romance, a touch of mystery, and one heck of a library! This wondrous adaption has enough “real world” in it to make it believable but still enough magic left to render it charmingly fairy tale-esque. Beauty is bookish, resolute, and pragmatic and when she enters the Beast’s enchanted world her fear and stress is palpable, but so is her bravery. She’s a marvelous character to read and I just love her for being so genuine. Not to be outdone though, the Beast is cryptically wonderful, a reformed gentleman who isn’t given to the outbursts of temper usually displayed by other “Beasts”, which is refreshing in a way. Not that he doesn’t have a little gruffness and stubbornness to him…he’s not that reformed!

9780064404778

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier — This is a darker version of the classic tale, with an Irish twist that I truly enjoy (even though it creeps the bejeezus out of me…seriously). Belle is now Caitrin, a runaway young woman with a dark past, fleeing to the safety of isolation, though she knows nowhere is safe, what’s coming for her will never stop. After an exhausting journey, she happens upon Whistling Tor, a castle with ghostly secrets, and Anluan, a chieftain who both frightens her and intrigues her. But Anluan’s world may be even more dangerous than those she ran from before, but there’s a mystery to be solved, a job to be done, and a wager she is determined to win. Juliet Marillier is one of the best writers I’ve ever come across and there will be more of her work later on in the “Fairest” series, but this story is truly a work of art. It’s terrifying and yet mesmerizing and I recommend it for anyone who likes their fairy tales with a dash of darkness and death.

HeartsBlood_3900

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte — I’ve always seen a close connection between the Beauty and the Beast story and that of wild impetuous Cathy Earnshaw and the scintillating and dangerously captivating Heathcliff. Granted Cathy is less polished that the normal Belle, and much less of a good person, and goodness knows Heathcliff is far more deadly and violent than any other Beast, but their love is still just as powerful, just as evocative. I would say this is a Beauty and the Beast story where everything goes wrong, where Belle chooses the wrong man, and the Beast destroys her for it.

Movies:

1) Beauty and the Beast (Disney 1991) — I don’t think this one needs any explanation really, it’s 100% Disney magic at it’s best and if you haven’t seen it WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WAITING FOR?!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) The Phantom of the Opera (Musical) — This Andrew Llyod Webber musical is actually based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux, but it’s the musical itself that I recommend for fairy tale lovers as the book is lovely, but not one of my favorites. Much like Wuthering Heights, I can’t help but see many similarities between this story and my favorite fairy tale: a beautiful young girl, a deformed man, a love that cannot be suppressed… See what I mean? But once again I like to think of this as an example of what happens when people make the wrong choice. This is what happens when Belle rejects her Beast out of fear and the Beast refuses to take no for an answer.

poto2-jpg

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights — I adore the mini-series version from PBS Masterpiece released in 2009 with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley,  it’s lush, haunting, maddening, and well worth watching my lovelies!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

4) La Belle et la Bete — I’ve mentioned my love for this Beauty and the Beast adaptation before and really it’s just as wonderful as I said it was. This 2014 French rendition is absolutely gorgeous, just a sparkling feast for the eyes, and the visual effects are stunning! If you want full on fairy tale grandeur at it’s best, look no further, this film is perfect!!! (And it’s on YouTube, just make sure you look for one with English subtitles!)

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Beauty and the Beast (2017 Live Action) — This movie had epic hopes and dreams placed upon it before  I even walked in the theaters my lovelies. I mean let’s be honest, I’ve waited YEARS to see this thing (I was writing about it back in March of 2015 for crying out loud)! And it was WORTH IT!!! This beautiful, magical, epic film was everything I ever wanted it to be and more! I literally started crying ten minutes in and couldn’t leave the theaters until ten minutes after the movie ended because I was just flat out happy sobbing. No joke. I have no idea why it made me so emotional, but I loved every minute of it and I’m so happy and thankful that this version exists now 😀 The costuming, the music, the visuals, everything was just so spot-on and fun and I cannot wait to see it again. Plus the Beast’s song (Evermore) just broke my heart and has been on repeat ever since I left the theater! Happy sigh…

Just chilling on the staircase with Cogsworth…

And there you have it my lovelies, all my favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptations and recommendations! I hope you enjoyed the first installment of the “Fairest Of Them All” series and remember to keep an eye out for the next one which will be coming soon!

What did you think of my picks my lovelies, did I leave any of your favorites out? Is there a fairy tale you’d like to see featured next? Let me know!

For more information about the origins of the Beauty and the Beast story click here. And remember:

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Advertisements

The Fairest Of Them All: Beauty and the Beast

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Welcome my lovelies, to the first installment in my new mini blog-series: “Fairest Of Them All”! I hope you’re ready for spellbinding magic, timeless romance, heart stopping adventure, and even a touch of mortal peril as we travel through the stories that truly never die. In each new Fairest Of Them All post, we’ll delve into a new fairy tale and I’ll reveal my favorite versions, both in film and in print! (Although my favorite fairy tale show Once Upon a Time will not be featured in this series, mainly because they’ve already gotten a few posts of their own and have more coming, but also because I’d basically be writing the same thing on every post which is I LOVE ONCE UPON A TIME!!! So just trust me on this now, if you have a favorite fairy tale, watch OUAT because chances are it’s on the show and I ship it!)

Now, for this first Fairest post, I’ve chosen my favorite fairy tale of all time: Beauty and the Beast, a French fairytale written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which tells the tale of a young woman who finds the truest of love in the heart of a beastly man…

I first came across this story like countless others of my generation: by watching the Disney animated version, which was released today actually, back in 1991. I instantly fell in love with the notion of a bookish, strong-willed woman intent on saving her father by taking his place in the palace of what she thinks is a monster. Theirs wasn’t a story of love at first sight, more like loathing perhaps, or maybe even fear, but still, this is a love story where the love has to be worked for, to be earned. In the end the Beast is made a better man by loving Belle, and Belle learns the power and reward of trusting her heart instead of her eyes. Both of these characters feel the effects of isolation, both yearn for more, they’re relatable, and their story is nothing short of powerful!

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Fairest Of Them All:

Books:

1) Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley — My favorite retelling of my favorite story, this book is exactly what I want when I want to relive Belle and the Beast’s story: a strong sense of family, seclusion, isolation, new beginnings, sweet romance, a touch of mystery, and one heck of a library! This wondrous adaption has enough “real world” in it to make it believable but still enough magic left to render it charmingly fairy tale-esque. Beauty is bookish, resolute, and pragmatic and when she enters the Beast’s enchanted world her fear and stress is palpable, but so is her bravery. She’s a marvelous character to read and I just love her for being so genuine. Not to be outdone though, the Beast is cryptically wonderful, a reformed gentleman who isn’t given to the outbursts of temper usually displayed by other “Beasts”, which is refreshing in a way. Not that he doesn’t have a little gruffness and stubbornness to him…he’s not that reformed!

9780064404778

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier — This is a darker version of the classic tale, with an Irish twist that I truly enjoy (even though it creeps the bejeezus out of me…seriously). Belle is now Caitrin, a runaway young woman with a dark past, fleeing to the safety of isolation, though she knows nowhere is safe, what’s coming for her will never stop. After an exhausting journey, she happens upon Whistling Tor, a castle with ghostly secrets, and Anluan, a chieftain who both frightens her and intrigues her. But Anluan’s world may be even more dangerous than those she ran from before, but there’s a mystery to be solved, a job to be done, and a wager she is determined to win. Juliet Marillier is one of the best writers I’ve ever come across and there will be more of her work later on in the “Fairest” series, but this story is truly a work of art. It’s terrifying and yet mesmerizing and I recommend it for anyone who likes their fairy tales with a dash of darkness and death.

HeartsBlood_3900

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte — I’ve always seen a close connection between the Beauty and the Beast story and that of wild impetuous Cathy Earnshaw and the scintillating and dangerously captivating Heathcliff. Granted Cathy is less polished that the normal Belle, and much less of a good person, and goodness knows Heathcliff is far more deadly and violent than any other Beast, but their love is still just as powerful, just as evocative. I would say this is a Beauty and the Beast story where everything goes wrong, where Belle chooses the wrong man, and the Beast destroys her for it.

Movies:

1) Beauty and the Beast (Disney 1991) — I don’t think this one needs any explanation really, it’s 100% Disney magic at it’s best and if you haven’t seen it WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WAITING FOR?!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) The Phantom of the Opera (Musical) — This Andrew Llyod Webber musical is actually based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux, but it’s the musical itself that I recommend for fairy tale lovers as the book is lovely, but not one of my favorites. Much like Wuthering Heights, I can’t help but see many similarities between this story and my favorite fairy tale: a beautiful young girl, a deformed man, a love that cannot be suppressed… See what I mean? But once again I like to think of this as an example of what happens when people make the wrong choice. This is what happens when Belle rejects her Beast out of fear and the Beast refuses to take no for an answer.

poto2-jpg

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights — I adore the mini-series version from PBS Masterpiece released in 2009 with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley,  it’s lush, haunting, maddening, and well worth watching my lovelies!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

4) La Belle et la Bete — I’ve mentioned my love for this Beauty and the Beast adaptation before and really it’s just as wonderful as I said it was. This 2014 French rendition is absolutely gorgeous, just a sparkling feast for the eyes, and the visual effects are stunning! If you want full on fairy tale grandeur at it’s best, look no further, this film is perfect!!! (And it’s on YouTube, just make sure you look for one with English subtitles!)

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

And there you have it my lovelies, all my favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptations and recommendations! I hope you enjoyed the first installment of the “Fairest Of Them All” series and remember to keep an eye out for the next one which will be coming soon!

What did you think of my picks my lovelies, did I leave any of your favorites out? Is there a fairy tale you’d like to see featured next? Let me know!

For more information about the origins of the Beauty and the Beast story click here. And remember:

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

“Fairest” Fairly Soon

197058_404468579626824_1706978332_n

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Evening my lovelies, I hope all is going well with you and yours 😀 I just wanted to take a minute to announce that I’ve a new mini blog-series on the way that I’m (appropriately) calling “Fairest Of Them All”! This new collection of posts will be the ultimate guide to my favorite fairytale adaptations — both in film and novels — and all my top recommendations for those magical-at-heart lovelies who — like me — just can’t get enough of these wonderful, timeless tales.

18586_730032107113482_4146173819694150878_n

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Now admittedly, the first post was going to uploaded tonight, but unfortunately… I got sidetracked… by movies. Good movies. And my mother’s new fascination with Candy Crush — which I find highly entertaining. But nevertheless, the first post will DEFINITELY be up tomorrow and I’m thinking it will be a bit…beastly!

And quite possibly beautiful… 😉

See you tomorrow my lovelies!

P.S. I’m actually trying to write it now, truly I am, but the Mummy’s on and there’s so much at stake… Must concentrate. Must not waver. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!

Well, I tried. Sigh. 😀

La Belle et la Bete

Hello my lovelies, hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday evening so far! Mine had been delightful I have to say, I finally got to hold my five month old little cousin, er well, he’s my cousin’s baby, so I don’t know what exactly that makes him to me really. A second cousin? Or first cousin once-removed maybe? Ancestry am I right. Either way, I finally at long last got to hold him )I was horridly sick when he was first born and every time I’ve seen him since, others have stolen him away first so I was forced to wait lol) and he is just the cutest little bundle of smiles ever, and considering I am not a baby person, it’s safe to say he really is just that awesome 😀 But all the familial loveliness aside, this post is really about an incredibly beautiful film I discovered a few weekends back that I wanted to share with you all called La Belle et la Bete, a 2014 French rendition of my favorite fairy-tale of all time: Beauty and the Beast.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

I’d heard about this film a year or so ago and found it on YouTube a few months back, but I didn’t actually sit down and watch it until about three weeks ago, and let me just sat…WOW! Seriously, just wow. It was so worth the three hours I spent watching it, even though it paused every five seconds on YouTube (because my Wi-Fi hates me unfortunately), I mean I just couldn’t look away. Every second of every frame is just breathtaking. No exaggeration. No hyperbole. Just awesomeness. Don’t believe me? Check out the trailer for yourself and see what I mean: (note: this trailer has English dubbing but the movie itself is in French with English subtitles, just so there’s no confusion later!)

See what I mean? Doesn’t it look just wonderfully amazing?! And trust me, it so is! And the sparklies…for the love of all that glitters, the sparklies my lovelies! Even the light glows and sparkles at times, and then there are literal sparklies floating hypnotically all-over the place at times! Perfection? Yes!

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

With the lush costumes, jewel-time colors, stunning romantic scenery, and incredibly talented actors, this film is just a marvel for the eye. I even forgot the aggravation I usually feel when forced to read subtitles throughout an entire film. Within minutes, I was happily drinking in the beauty of the French language, feeling that it only added to the magical, unattainable allure of the enchanting masterpiece. And the Beast himself if created and brought to life so artistically and yet so realistically it’s astounding. This whole production has really raised the bar for my expectations of the live-action Disney version coming out in 2017! My only little quibble storyline wise is that I feel like Belle and the Beast did not get to spend adequate time together, getting to know one another and forging that absolute need for one another. But the chemistry between the actors and the heartbreaking mythological twist to the story almost fully makes up for this lack in bonding.

And there was no library, but really, I think the ballroom makes up for the lack of books, almost. I really enjoyed the dancing scenes, the tension and desire between Belle and the Beast really came through wonderfully as they swept across the black and gold ballroom-floor. Though I would have liked to have seen a library in this gorgeous, rose-strewn castle!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Overall, this is one movie I desperately want to buy now and add to my own collection! Sadly the French DVD does not work with American DVD players, so I have to find one that will work here and hopefully soon, because as wonderful as it was on YouTube (blurry thanks to my Wi-Fi) I’m sure it will be 100 times better with the clarity and crispness of a DVD! And while I was looking it up, I discovered three different and excruciatingly beautiful covers, and now I don’t know which one I want more! Is it sad that I really want all three? They’re just so pretty!

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

What do you think my lovelies, does this look like something you’d enjoy? Have you seen it and if so what did you think? And which cover would you choose if you could one pick one? Let me know in the comments! 😀

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

The challenge this week my lovelies is Happy Place, so I promptly dug around in my massive photo vault (aka the many, MANY picture folders on my laptop) and selected a few that I think do this wonderful challenge justice! I hope you enjoy 😀

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OK, OK, OK, so maybe these two are only in my dreams (and my grandparents’ photos from England), but that totally counts right?! I mean I’m a writer, imagination is encouraged in my profession! 😉

But, if I have to pick a place I’ve actually been to (which I guess rules out Belle’s library in Beauty and the Beast, because that was my second choice…) I’d have to say my Happy Place really is my beautiful hometown in all its historic glory!

WP_20141026_085

WP_20141026_045

10542914_10202599483374046_912786282_n

WP_20141026_151

Screw it, I’m adding it anyways!

MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA 😉

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

A Rose Bound

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

A Rose Bound

In the labyrinth there’s a castle,

where a bed of roses lie,

thick and bright and color-strewn,

arching turrets to the sky.

***

I see you there, in my sleeping mind,

a shadow in the brightest light,

cloaked in crimson, rich as blood,

beckoning me in from coming night.

***

Come to me, come to me,

your voice echoes low on the wind,

come to me, come to  me,

to our story now, we must tend.

***

Come to me, run to me,

gasping, my heart begins to pound,

come to me, find love with me,

become the rose to which I’m bound.

Downton Abbey Meets Beauty and the Beast!

Ok my lovelies, I’m trying not to hyperventilate right now but I just read online that Dan Stevens (Matthew from Downton Abbey) is in talks to play the Beast in the new Disney live-action Beauty and the Beast starring opposite Emma Watson!!!!!

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

 

OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE!!!

Admittedly, I’ve never thought of Dan for this role but that’s mostly because I’ve been preoccupied with the notion that Chris Hemsworth was perfect for it, but I would so love to see this happen! I was less than thrilled when it looked like Ryan Gosling was going to star as my favorite Disney guy, (just no) and Hemsworth was always a longshot considering he’s already in another fairytale franchise (as the Huntsman from Snow White and the Huntsman), so PLEASE let’s see my favorite Downton guy play my favorite Disney Prince! How awesome would that be?!!!

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

What do you guys think, would Dan make a good Beast or are you in the enemy camp of Ryan Gosling? Or are you still dreaming of the fantasy of Chris Hemsworth or another man of your choice? Let me know! 😀

*(Urgent update my lovelies: IT’S OFFICIAL, HE’S BEEN CAST!!!)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward

If I’m being honest my lovelies, my idea of this week’s photo challenge (Reward) looks a heck of a lot like this:

 

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

I’m just saying… 😉

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Captive In The Beast’s Forest

“You’ve been kidnapped and given a choice: would you rather be stranded on an island, dropped into an unknown forest, or locked in a strange building?” — The Daily Prompt, Captive’s Choice.

As soon as I read the Daily Prompt this morning my lovelies, I was irresistibly drawn to the idea of being left to fend for myself in the wilds of a beautiful — yet frightening — forest, completely alone, with only the bounty of nature, the tingle of uncertainty, the prickle of fear, and the exquisite sexy allure of the unknown to accompany me.

To me, nothing is sexier than the unknown, the unexplored, the infinite what may be’s that lie ahead, filling us with hope and the desire to keep going, to keep living and dreaming no matter what.

Who knows…perhaps there is someone waiting for me in the forest. A prince under a beastly curse. A castle waiting to awaken. A future I’ve always dreamt about. Destiny. Fate. Love.

What if…

Image From Google

Image From Google

A Very Musical Samhain

Forest Scene- found on Facebook

Merry Samhain and Happy Halloween everyone! I love this day of the year, it’s so steeped in magic and the unknown that it just makes me feel all tingly and powerful inside for some reason. Maybe it’s my Irish/Celtic heritage kicking into overdrive, or perhaps I just have a wildly active imagination, but whatever the reason, I just adore today! The costumes, the food, the candy, the bright colors, it makes me giddy thinking about it all. Oddly enough though, I don’t really feel like doing a Samhain/Halloween blog or anything today (possibly because I’ve done a few autumn-themed blogs already) but I’ve had music and musicals on the brain lately so I think a music rant/list/blog thing is in order.

(Just to forewarn everyone: I’m a bit of a List nut, I don’t know why but I love making lists for everything, so there will probably be more of them in this blog’s future!)

So here we go:

MOONSTONEMAIDEN’S LIST OF ALL-TIME FAVORITE MUSICALS EVER

These are in no particular order of affection because I find it way too hard to pick just one of them as my favorite and then start delegating second/third/etc. place to the others because they’re all just so amazing!

1)       Les Miserables– I only recently (like six or seven months ago) discovered this musical for myself and have since fallen HEAD OVER HEELS in love with it! (And have since driven everyone I know crazy by talking about it so much and playing the music constantly, but really the sooner they succumb to the charms of Les Mis, the sooner their lives will be that much more complete.) I remember a few years back hearing it in a friend’s car and having her explain to me what was happening but I found it all very confusing and I didn’t think anything of it afterward; it didn’t sound all that special to me. How wrong I was. Eponine has quickly become my new favorite (musical) character of the moment, everything she sings just makes my heart wrench with understanding (I’m talking Lea Salonga and Samantha Barks rendition of ‘Eponine’ here). The music is just so powerful and sweeping and emotional, I love it! I want drama, I want theatrics and big musical numbers I can belt to and lose myself in and Les Mis certainly delivers. And I cannot wait to see the movie in December! Favorite Songs: On My Own, Red and Black, One Day More, Empty Chairs At Empty Tables…and the list goes on and on!

2)      The Phantom of the Opera– LOVE. There is just no describing how much I adore this fantastic musical, the drama, the passion, the romance, the MUSIC! My heart swells with joy and a slight tingle of fear every time the Overture begins and in moments I am swept away into a glittering underworld of Paris theater intrigue. The Phantom is hands down my favorite guy in a musical; he’s just larger than life and dripping with emotion and sexual tension. It’s no contest between the Phantom and Raoul for me; I’m a Phantom fan all the way! I love the movie (it was my first intro to the musical) and recently discovered the 25th Anniversary Concert and have fallen in love all over again (the Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess version). Favorite Songs: The Phantom of the Opera (obviously), Twisted Every Way, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, The Point Of No Return, and Down Once More.

3)      Love Never Dies– The sequel to The Phantom of the Opera and just amazing on its own. I was nervous at first at the thought of a follow-up to the POTO, and was not convinced at first that I liked the new music but it has quickly won me over. I won’t give away any details concerning plot here, but if you’re a Phantom fan and haven’t heard/seen LND then scurry on over to Wikipedia or Youtube and check it out! Though I forewarn you: if you like the ending of the Phantom of the Opera and have no desire to see anything change at all, this may not be a musical for you. Love Never Dies has one of the most beautiful scores I have ever heard in my life, it’s just…gorgeous and the songs are brilliant as well. Favorite Songs: ‘Til I Hear You Sing, Beneath A Moonless Sky, Devil Take The Hindmost (and reprise).

4)      RENT- This one is an oddball for me. I love it but it makes no sense for me to (there’s no fantasy elements, hardly any happy moments, and it’s set close enough to the present to make me lose any interest whatsoever) but somehow I’ve come to adore this melancholy musical. The music is heartfelt and powerful enough to bring tears to my eyes every time I hear certain songs and the story just breaks my heart. I will admit that I’ve only ever seen the movie with regards to RENT, but I’ve heard that it was a very good interpretation of the original work. There’s just something about singing my heart out to these songs that makes my world seem like a better place for a while. (My mom on the other hand, downright LOATHES this musical, I don’t actually know why, but I find her response amusing. Whenever it’s on she starts huffing angrily under breath and asking “Is THAT the last song…WHAT?! WHAT MORE COULD THEY SING ABOUT?! I’ve only gotten her to actually watch it once and she hasn’t trusted me with musicals since (even though she loves all the other musicals I’ve had her watch since then). It took me five years(!) to get her to watch The Phantom of the Opera after the RENT debacle, as I call it. And now she loves the Phantom but getting her to watch any new musical now takes months and months of hard work. I’m trying to get her to listen to Les Miserables now…it’s not working so far.) Favorite Songs: I’ll Cover You, Light My Candle, No Day But Today, La Vie Boheme.

 

5)      Wicked- There is just something in this beautiful piece of artistry that touches my heart and soul. I discovered Wicked when my parents were going through their divorce during my late second/early third year of college. My friend had given me a CD to listen to filled with music she thought I would like and on it was Defying Gravity. One moment, I’m sitting on my bed listening to new songs that would hopefully drown out the pain of what I was feeling, and the next thing I knew I was bawling my eyes out, gasping for breath thinking: This is exactly how I feel. Ever since that moment, Wicked has been a fierce favorite of mine; Elphaba seems so real to me…she seems like me and it helped to know that somewhere out there was a strong (green) woman who felt pretty much the same way I did. If you haven’t discovered Wicked yet, go do so now, my blog will be here when you come back. Favorite Songs: Defying Gravity, The Wizard And I, Dancing Through Life, I’m Not That Girl, Thank Goodness, No Good Deed, As Long As You’re Mine, and For Good.

6)      Hairspray- Oh the joyousness of this upbeat and dance-worthy musical! Again, I’ve only seen the movie version of this (and the old original movie that frankly I thought sucked) but still, I love it! I don’t know how true it was to the Broadway version, but the movie was good enough for me (until I see the other one anyway)! The music is just so peppy and happy that it just brightens my day to bounce around the house singing these songs at the top of my lungs 😀 Favorite Songs: Big, Blond, and Beautiful, I Can Hear The Bells, I Know Where I’ve Been, Without Love, and You Can’t Stop The Beat.

7)      Jekyll and Hyde- Now apparently there are quite a few interpretations of this musical, but to be clear the one I’m talking about is the 1995 Original Cast. The music and overall feel is just creepy and overly dramatic but I’m a sucker for drama, so this one is right up my alley! The lush and seedy story is romantic, wistful, frightening and haunting; there are musical numbers that utterly break my heart or make my blood run cold! Lucy is one of my all-time favorite musical heroines/characters! Favorite Songs: Bring On The Men, This Is The Moment, In His Eyes, The Girls Of The Night, No One Knows Who I Am, Dangerous Game (though not the 1995 version), and Confrontation.

8)      Mamma Mia– Just good fun! This musical is so bouncy and full of energy and love that it’s pretty much perfect (I’ve only seen the movie, but I can’t wait to see the real thing)! Mother/Daughter relationships, true love, hilarious hijinks, and GIRLPOWER…’nuf said. My best friend and I watched this again on my last birthday and it was fantastic fun, we sang our hearts out and I ended up with this musical stuck in my head for two weeks afterward! Favorite Songs: Does Your Mother Know That You’re Out, SOS, Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen…pretty much every song.

9)      Beauty and the Beast- Disney gold. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie ever (though there are many others in my fav list) and so unless they just completely changed the story, it was a given that I would love this musical! It shocks me just how similar the Original Broadway Belle sounds like the Original movie Belle, and it made the transition to this new interpretation much easier to handle. For me there is no comparison or competition, I love the movie the most, but the musical is very very good as well. Favorite Songs: Me (funniest song ever), Home, No Matter What, Maison Des Lunes, The Mob Song, Transformation.

And that my lovelies, is my list of all-time favorite (and therefore bestest) musicals ever! The next musicals I plan on checking out are The Little Mermaid, and The Pirate Queen and I hope to love them both! What about you all? What musicals do you love the most? What songs make your heart soar? Are there any musicals you think I should look into? I’m always open to new music and suggestions are welcome!